When you lose your home to a house fire, you lose more than just your place of residence. You feel the loss through other things such as documents, clothing, furniture, artwork, photo albums, and much more. You might also feel like the connection between the memories you made over the years and the home that you created was severed. The worst loss in a house fire involves not only the material things in life, but also your place of comfort, your haven, your safe place.
Losses of such magnitude affect people in different ways. If you or your family has lost your home to a fire, you need to start taking small steps to recovery and restoration. Unfortunately, you may only have control over restoring your emotional losses as many physical losses may be irreplaceable. Emotional losses should not be underplayed, however, because many people believe that the emotional damage of a house fire is greater than the material loss.
People react differently to emotional losses, so you can’t force yourself to fit into a standard mold of grief. To most people, the initial reaction to the loss is a shock, when the mind cannot comprehend the full scope of what happened. Many people feel that they are having a nightmare, waiting for the moment when they awaken.
After the initial shock, reality sets in. Various forms of emotion may come into play from anxiety to anger, or deep sorrow to depression. In many instances, there will also be a feeling of relief, especially when no life is lost in the fire.
At this point, if you’ve lost your home, you may experience another set of emotions that include fear, nervousness, and the feeling of being physically drained. Confusion and disorganization are common, which makes it difficult to make simple, though important, decisions. It is also common to experience bitterness and anger and to direct it at anyone perceived to be responsible for the loss in some way.
Finally, you have to come to terms with the loss and accept it. Once you have accepted the loss, you will be on the road to recovery.
Emotional recovery after a residential fire may be easier if you take the following suggestions into account:
- Acknowledge your emotions – Accept the fact that you and your family will go through an emotional roller-coaster. Be sensitive and understanding. Provide emotional support where it is needed.
- Seek emotional support – Don’t be afraid to seek emotional support from others. The period after a devastating loss is the time when you’ll feel very vulnerable. Emotional support from family, friends, and your community will go a long way towards recovery.
- Don’t forget yourself – At times of stress and grief, people tend to forget themselves. There is still a long road ahead of you, so be mindful of both your physical and spiritual needs. Take the time to do things that make you happy. Exercise, eat right, and talk with your support group. Keep yourself healthy, so you will have the courage to keep moving forward.
- Remember you are human – You are not a superhero, so don’t expect yourself to be impervious to the difficulties of your situation. Take a break and do things slowly, and cut yourself some slack.
The material things that you lost during the fire may be gone, but you can start rebuilding your life again. As long as you are intact as a person, the road to recovery is within your grasp.